Japanese PM Says Games Must Go On

COVID-19 cases are spiking in Japan.

The Tokyo Olympics event is supposed to start with the opening ceremonies on July 23rd and that is less than 100 days from now. There still is uncertainty as to whether the two-week long sports competition will actually take place because of the surge of COVID-19 cases in Japan and a very slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country. The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was at the White House for a meeting with President Joe Biden and the Japanese Prime Minister did not come away with a commitment from Biden that he would attend the Games nor did Suga get Biden to say that he would send the American team to Tokyo although he remains supportive of the American team taking part in the Olympics. COVID-19 remains a substantial health threat.

There seems to be some confusion in Japan from the political class about the status of the Games. Toshihiro Nikai, the second-highest-ranking member of the Liberal Democratic Party which is led by Suga, said the day before Suga met with Biden, “If it’s impossible, then it should be called off. What is the point of the Olympics if it’s responsible for spreading infections? We will have to make a decision at that point.” Tokyo was supposed to have hosted the Olympics in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a postponement for a year. Suga is trying to change the topic saying there will be an Olympics. “It’s already decided that the Games will take place,” Suga told Newsweek. “So based upon decision, preparations are underway. We truly hope to realize a safe and secure games to deliver hope and encouragement from Japan to the people around the world.” Japan has sunk billions into the Olympics and probably not see much of a return on the money. A cancelation would be a financial catastrophe.

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(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)